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Joanna Lumley

Joanna Lumley is the nation's favourite pin-up pensioner - but as David Nicholl explains, she's more than a pretty face.

Joanna Lumley rocks - lets face it, whatever one thinks about the Gurkha campaign. The actress is giving a virtuoso performance in how to run an effective campaign.

Ok it helps that you have all the newspapers and the vast majority of the public on your side- but that it is because of the campaigning efforts of the New Avenger.

So what is it that Joanna has got that the rest of us don’t? Clearly good looks, a posh accent and being a celebrity help…but I think it goes far beyond that. In fact, I think a more detailed analysis of Joanna’s tactics is worthwhile as I think she is doing all the right things.

Having organized a few campaigns over the years, these are my own top tips.

Firstly always start off politely - a nice letter to your MP, a petition, for example. Indeed Lumley’s meeting with Gordon Brown earlier this week was a case in point- she made a great point of flattering him, how important he was and that he would do the right thing.

This put Brown in the corner- if he fails to deliver, it will be clear that he was the one responsible.

Secondly, if your opponent fails to deliver the goods - do not hesitate or deviate from embarrassing them to the maximum for all the world to see. Lumley’s cornering of Phil Woolas at the BBC was a classic example of a Gurkha pincer movement - Woolas looked like a startled toad as he was forced to acquiesce to Lumley.

Finally, a good slogan helps and seeing Lumley shouting “Ayo Gorkhali”, the Gurkhas are coming, outside Parliament is about as good as it gets.

What makes for a lousy campaign? Anger and violence never work, and anything that makes the campaigners appear mentally deranged is to be discouraged.

I always felt that “Make tea not war” was much more effective as an antiwar campaign slogan than burning a flag. At the end of the day, any campaign should be trying to convert those people who are neutral to your cause, even if you don’t, if you make someone smile you are halfway there.

In the case of the Gurkhas, the government lost the argument months ago - its only a question of how much damage Lumley subjects on them before she wins - she is Absolutely Fabulous!


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